Title dark horses Villarreal and Valencia moved joint top of the Spanish first division with victories over Numancia and Osasuna respectively on Sunday.
Villarreal, who earned a creditable 0-0 Champions League draw at Manchester United on Wednesday, came from a goal down to defeat Numancia 2-1 with Jose Llorente scoring the winner with his first goal for the club.
Valencia lead the standings on goal difference after a late Juan Mata goal downed ten-man Osasuna at the Mestalla.
Mata struck seven minutes from time for the breakthrough after Osasuna had been reduced to ten men with Cesar Azpilicueta received his marching orders just after the hour for a second booking.
"Being top is not that significant as there are various teams with seven points," said Valencia coach Unai Emery.
"The most important thing for us is that we are improving and collecting points from difficult games like this one.
"We knew it was a test of patience because Osasuna are hard to open up."
Four teams are locked on seven points at the summit with Almeria continuing their great start to the season with a 1-0 home victory over Malaga.
Alvaro Negredo struck on 74 minutes with the decisive goal and undefeated Almeria join Espanyol, Villarreal and Valencia at the top.
Honours were shared in the hotly-contested derby match between Real Betis and Sevilla at the Manuel Ruiz de Lopera which ended 0-0.
"We didn't lose but perhaps we should have been more ambitious like we were in the final 25 minutes," bemoaned Sevilla coach Manolo Jimenez.
Sevilla completed a league double over Betis last season and the hosts set up with a 4-5-1 to make life difficult for the visitors.
It worked as Sevilla, 2-0 winners over Salzburg in the UEFA Cup, failed to find a way through the bottleneck.
Elsewhere, Deportivo La Coruna failed to get their UEFA Cup nightmare - they lost 2-0 to Norwegians Brann - out of their system in a frustrating 0-0 draw with Real Mallorca.
Defending champions Real Madrid have a tough trip to Racing Santander on Sunday and it is a ground where Real have struggled in the past.
"Racing's ground is not an easy place to visit," said Real coach Bernd Schuster. "It is a team with experience and pace. They are also comfortable playing at home in front of their fans."
Barcelona are targeting their first league win of the new season when they travel to bottom side Sporting Gijon in Sunday's late match.
Captain Carles Puyol, who made his 400th appearance for the club in midweek against Sporting Lisbon, admitted the club needed to go on a run after collecting one point from six.
"We need three or four wins in a row, to put together some good results and to end up winning titles," explained Puyol.
"People speak about a lot of things but it would be a lot more worrying if we weren't creating chances. We have top quality players and the goals will come."
Source: AFP Global Edition